The most well-known application of acrylic is as a complete replacement for flat glass glazing. But because acrylic sheet is easy to machine and shape, we come across the material in the most surprising places. In this blog, we provide text and explanation of the many applications of acrylic sheet. You’ll continue to be surprised about this material.
Easy to work and process
It does not take much experience to process acrylic sheet, with the right tools – and they are not expensive at all – and our DIY blogs are very helpful for any DIYer. Cutting, drilling, milling, it is all very easy. It is not always necessary to cut it yourself because we supply customised sheets. This means that you can have the acrylic sheet sawn and delivered to the size you require. Creating complex shapes for glazing (boat, additional windows, showcases, shower enclosures, animal enclosures) is a piece of cake. Because acrylic is a thermoplastic, it can be bent or extruded into a mould using heat. As a DIYer, you can make beautiful flowing, bending shapes, or even bumps, with the help of a hair dryer or an oven. That is also the reason that we come across acrylic sheet in many industrial and consumer products. Many cabinets for audio and television equipment are made of acrylic, but you also come across acrylic frequently in cars: the well-known high-gloss panels are mostly black acrylic while the cover glass of the instruments is also made of acrylic. And what about the visors of motorcycle helmets? Nine out of ten transparent plastic parts are made from acrylic. Or what about secondary glazing? Because of its low cost, acrylic is used more often than glass today.
Why is acrylic sheet so popular?
Firstly, acrylic is popular because of its advantages over ordinary glass. It is stronger, lighter, easier to process and the light transmittance is much higher. Thinner material thicknesses do not show it much, but thicker plates clearly show that acrylic is much clearer than glass. In large aquariums (such as in zoos and family parks) the glazing is made from acrylic sheet that is sometimes as much as 30 centimetres thick. Despite the enormous thickness, acrylic shows no discolouration or distortion. Acrylic is also suitable as a sheet material for exterior use, such as windshields and additional windows. It’s strong and flexible so it will not break with a gust of wind or a hard shot from a football.
A second reason that acrylic is so popular is its wide availability, the large number of colours and the price. A low-cost version of acrylic sheet is also available, the so-called extruded acrylic, also known as budget acrylic. Normal acrylic, if we can call it that, is cast acrylic. This is the highest quality type. The acrylic can also be extruded during the production process. The acrylic is still plastic and is then passed through a rolling road and so a thinner sheet with a much larger surface is created. The extrusion process ensures a larger sheet surface with the same amount of base material. Extruded acrylic is therefore priced lower than cast acrylic. It also has a disadvantage: it is more sensitive to tensions and is more likely to crack. Do you want to do odd jobs with acrylic? Then cast acrylic sheet is your best option. Do you want to use the acrylic primarily as glazing? Then extruded acrylic sheet is a good choice.